Shoot 'em Up America – Liberation and Powerlessness

Today we’re going to talk a little about the spate of crazy gun violence that has recently spiked in this the land of the free and the brave.


In just the last two days, a disgruntled man in Binghamton, NY, shot and killed 13 people preparing for their citizenship exam before killing himself. A man in Pittsburgh who feared that Barack Obama would take a way his rights (I’ll guess that he was most concerned about the most sacred of all rights, the right to own guns) shot 5 police officers, killing three. Then there was the recently laid-off man who shot and killed his 5 kids before shooting himself in Tacoma, WA. It has been a really busy week for gun violence in America.

It’s not easy living with an identity of powerlessness – it just feels crappy. Add on the loss of a job and having people of white skin descending into their own minority status in this historically Aryan country and you’ve got yourself a “sicheeation” (situation). Grab the guns and start shootin’.

To be fair, the shooter in Binghamton was a Vietnamese immigrant, but when you embrace the American culture’s NEED to be employed to have self-worth, no one is immune from the propensity to show the world just how powerful he is.


It is, of course, the manifestation of intense misery in the land. Misery and violence are blood brothers.

The source of all psychological misery (no exception) is the Wound, our underlying feeling that we are inadequate. I have described the Wound in an earlier Post (see: Curing and Understanding Depression and Healing Depression the Liberation Way: Part 1 – the Wound).

The KING thought is the Wound. It governs the formation of every other false identity and thought with which we identify. The fundamental feeling of the Wound is misery … agonizing misery. When we are profoundly traumatized as young people (and often the terrible burden of poverty and highly patriarchal households make it so much worse) , we spend the rest of our lives seeking to distance ourselves, psychologically, from experiencing this lurking agony. This is why we develop an array of Fear-Selves–false, cover-up personalities that are designed to compensate for the infantile invalidation trauma.

When the proverbial shit hits the fan, we lose our job and don’t have any financial resources left, when our spouse leaves us, when a black man with a Muslim sounding name becomes President of these here United States, well then it’s time to break out the guns and start firing.

We become violent or extremely depressed because our compensating Fear-Self has collapsed and we are returned to the blazing terror of the Wound. That’s an unbearable situation. Some of us just start killing. Fortunately, most of us don’t turn to homicide.

But another essential aspect of the Wound is the very deep sense of lack we experience. This is a big part of the awfulness of the experience. We feel empty inside, and when we experience this terrible emptiness, which is a form of internal powerlessness, we desperately seek forms of external power. One such form is grabbing a gun and killing people. We do it as individuals, we do it as groups (al Qaeda), we do it as religions, we do it through gender preference, and we do it as countries. Violence is a byproduct of an internal identification with powerlessness.

There are few conditions as lethally dangerous as an identification with powerlessness. This also explains why an evening walk in the inner city has its risks. When a community has experienced sustained invalidation, it develops its own community-wide Wound and acts accordingly.

This is why it’s so important to address the Wound. This is the healing we need to do. I will write a lot more about this subject in the coming weeks. And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Liberation from the Lie explains so much about our world and the quality of our individual lives – I think you will see that as this blog continues.


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